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EHR Satisfaction Rises, Usability Complaints Drop for Nurses

Over 90 percent of nurses said they would not want to go back to paper records, indicating that their EHR satisfaction rates are on an upward trajectory.

EHR satisfaction and usability complaints drop among nurses

Source: Thinkstock

By Jessica Kent

- Electronic health record (EHR) satisfaction and acceptance among nurses has improved significantly, with ninety-six percent reporting that they would not want to go back to using paper records, according to a recent Black Book survey.

This is a notable shift from 2015, when 26 percent of nurses said they were hoping for a return to paper records.

The survey, which polled nearly 15,000 licensed registered nurses, also indicated that EHR usability is improving. Only 44 percent said their EHRs had disruptive system flaws and glitches, down from 85 percent in 2016.

Nurses are some of the most active technology users in healthcare, and EHRs can play an integral part in helping or hindering their ability to treat patients.

"Technology can help nurses do their jobs more effectively or it can be a highly intrusive burden on the hospital nurse delivering patient care," said Doug Brown, President of Black Book Market Research.

Health IT use is so central to nursing that many of these professionals prioritize a working environment with a high-quality EHR during their job search. Eighty percent of job-seeking registered nurses reported that the reputation of the hospital's EHR system is a top three consideration in their choice of where they will work.

Nurses participating in the survey also reported feeling more involved in the EHR optimization process than they have been in the past.  

Eighty-eight percent of nurses now believe their hospitals’ IT departments and administrators are quick to make changes in the EHR when nurses recognize vulnerabilities in the documentation, compared to just 30 percent who said the same in 2016.

Organizations are also becoming more responsive to complaints and usability issues in general, the survey revealed.

Among those organizations that outsource the EHR help desk, just 21 percent said that they had poor experiences with their call centers in terms of communication and knowledge of the product, down from 88 percent in 2016.

However, lingering dissatisfaction with the EHR experience remains among nurses. Sixty-nine percent still believe that the EHR is disruptive to productivity, and 80 percent report that the EHR interferes with their ideal patient-provider relationship.

Past research has shown that EHRs and data entry can burden providers and cut into the time they spend with their patients, which can contribute to physician burnout and patient dissatisfaction.

A 2016 study from the American Medical Association found that for every hour providers spend with patients, they spend another two hours on EHR use and deskwork.

Despite these issues, most nurses recognize that EHRs are here to stay.

"With so many unique software interfaces from medical equipment and the multiple departmental applications, siloed health data sets, and current cybersecurity initiatives, it's no surprise that hospital nurses are, at times, discouraged, but the majority of nurses responding to the 2018 survey see the value in their EHR fluency," said Brown.

Eighty-five percent of nurses see competency with at least one EHR system as a highly-sought employment skill for RNs, and 65 percent believe that being familiar with multiple EHRs is a highly valuable skill for employment.

Ultimately, the survey shows that nursing EHR satisfaction and usability is on the rise as more organizations recognize the importance of considering these clinicians in adoption and implementation.

To further improve EHR satisfaction, it is critical that healthcare stakeholders ensure that these systems work within provider needs.


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